I've been looking through the message board and amazon.com looking for reviews, experiences and photos of different underwater cameras. My husband and I will be at CSA in 45 days (!!!) so it's time for me to get serious about buying a camera. We plan on using it for snorkeling, the catamaran cruise and snapshots in the pool and ocean. So far I've narrowed my choices down to:
I'm personally just going to rent a camera from my local dive shop. I can rent a camera that can go to depths of 100 ft for about $100 for the week. I don't need another camera that I won't use other than on beach vacations.
We have one of the older Olympus Stylus 1030SW cameras. At the time it was their better waterproof camera. As a matter of fact we bought it for our first trip to CSA back in 2008. It worked great on that trip, for a few trips to the beach and on one cruise in January 2011. On our last trip to CSA in December, 2011 water got into the camera and it started acting up. It would turn on but the screen would go black after a second or two. After a few days I guess it dried out after we left the flaps open when not in use and the screen came back to life. Funny thing is it never stopped taking pictures. I'd point it in a direction and then crop the pictures when I transferred them to our computer. It takes good underwater and pictures in bright light but flash pictures aren't that good unless the subject is pretty close. I'm going to send it in to the Olympus repair shop to have the gaskets replaced before or next trip. They said it'll be around $40 for the repair and I guess shipping. Here's a few pictures from CSA and one from our cruise for you. Good luck and enjoy your time at our home away from home...CSA!
As divers, weíve had a couple of Sony cameraís with housings, but for what you plan to use yours for, you donít need a camera and housing. A camera in a housing tends to not take great shots above water (often get water spots, or fogging, especially in hot humid places), but taking it in and out of the housing is something you have to do in a very clean, dry place. They're a bit of a pain. Besides, if the camera ever dies you have to find the exact model to fit your expensive housing (unless its a more generic housing, which I don't personally trust). Cameras with housings are worth it for diving, but the simple waterproof, tough cameras are better for the beach, pool and snorkelling.
We have an Olympus Tough that we bought in early 2010 for a cruise and managed to flood it the first time we took it snorkelling in St. Lucia. It didn't seem wet at all, but it gave us an error message and that was that for the rest of the trip. Unusable. Luckily we had other cameras along. When we got back we were able to return it to Olympus and got it fixed under warranty, but we never trusted it UNDER the water again. Thatís just us being nervous. If youíre really careful about keeping the O-ring spotlessly clean whenever you open it to change the card or pull out the battery, you should be ok. Itís a handy camera for the beach and out on the water (in a boat, hobie, etc), as it can stand up to blowing sand and splashing water well. We've bumped it and dropped it. It's been a lot of places now. It really is quite tough. We find it takes decent photos too. The panorama feature is fun. We often leave the Canon SLR behind in favour of our much smaller, more durable Olympus. We even use the it at home to take canoeing. I don't think I'd buy another point and shoot that wasn't a "tough" type of camera.